“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
According to Jesus, stewardship reflects character, showing what kind of people we are to a watching world. Additionally, our handling of finances reveals the object of our worship (Luke 16:13). Simply by observing how Christians spend their money, anyone should be able to determine who we are and who we serve.
Even with verses like Luke 16:10 before me, however, I fail to prioritize stewardship like I prioritize other spiritual disciplines. If I catch myself shortchanging my devotional times, I’ll work to make more time for study. If I catch myself praying hasty, rote prayers, I’ll work to deepen my prayer life. But when I notice myself spending money recklessly and saving less intentionally than I should be saving, I won’t usually take steps to fix the problem. For some reason, I don’t consider lack of discipline with stewardship on the same level as lack of discipline with devotions.
As I consider this problem, I think I can spot the flaw in my thinking. I compartmentalize areas of my life into spiritual and non-spiritual categories when, in reality, everything falls under the umbrella of the spiritual. My approach to money, while not directly connected to my walk with the Lord, is nonetheless an outworking of that relationship. If Jesus is the lord of my life, then I can’t hold anything back from him. He reigns over all. As Paul wrote,
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
While the application of Paul’s words here may vary from believer to believer, the truth remains the same: all that we do can and should be done for God’s glory. Any use of finances, time, or skills that is not done in his name is in danger of being a case of mismanagement, of bad stewardship.
When I began to write this post, another thought came to mind. My mishandling in small things may be the reason I’m not entrusted with great things. I often desire a bigger platform, a larger ministry, or a greater position in the kingdom. In some ways, these desires are good; they stem from my desire to serve God’s people more effectively. Yet Jesus says that my faithfulness in the little things speaks to how faithful I would be with the big things. If I fall short now, why should I expect to have things under control later?
The lesson seems clear: I need to be a better steward of the resources God has entrusted to me, and I need to do so for God’s glory and not for my own. I shouldn’t pursue stewardship in order to get God’s blessings, whatever they may be. That would make God the means to an end. God is the end, however. He’s the point. I should pursue stewardship because I desire to faithfully serve my Lord. I obey because he is worthy of my obedience.
Maybe you’ve been seeing a problem area as unimportant. Maybe you’ve been ignoring that issue God keeps bringing to mind because you don’t think it’s spiritual enough for your attention. Maybe you, like me, need to learn faithfulness in the small things. Today, ask God where you need improvement. Ask him to reveal to you the areas in your life that need work. And then trust that he will be faithful to cleanse you and to grow you into the image of his son.